2012 is shaping up to be a very significant year indeed, with The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic Games and of course a very big, Big Lunch day in June. Today’s date indicates another of 2012’s special qualities – it’s a leap year!
29th February not only indicates an extra day of the year, but gives leap year babies the chance to celebrate their official birthday for the first time in four years, and ladies an excuse to adhere to leap year tradition and pop the question to their unsuspecting other halves.
We’ve heard all kinds of wonderful leap year stories today, from pensioners celebrating their 21st birthdays in Manchester to love-struck girlfriends proposing in front of hundreds in Loughborough! Radio 4 has marked the occasion by broadcasting their collection of Leap Year Tales, a series of short stories to mark the 2012 leap year.
What better time than a leap year to do something you’ve never done before? So, why not take a leap and organise a Big Lunch! Request your FREE Pack today and make this leap year one to remember!
As always, we’d love to hear what you’ve got planned – get in touch at email@example.com
Oh, I’m in love!
And it’s not just that St Valentine has breezed through – I’ve finally found a way to make sure it’s only tummies I fill with happiness, and not the bin I fill with leftovers. . The Love Food Hate Waste Scotland online and smart phone apps have made me a happy cook.
I’ll admit it, one of the ways I like to show my affection with my friends and family is to cook for them. But I often find myself with leftovers in a misguided ‘not wanting to seem mean’ way. Rice is the worst one, because although if you cool it down immediately after cooking it can be frozen, it always feels like a bit of a gamble.
But with my new app, I now just type in how many are eating, and what I’m feeding them and it gives me measurements and guides as to how much I should cook. I was a bit dubious, but after my first time use, when everyone had a decent plateful that they could actually finish and I had no leftovers or waste – I’m a convert.
Here’s what Love Food Hate Waste say: ‘The easy to use app asks users to place ‘ingredients’ they already have at home into an on-screen blender, shake the phone and out pops an easy, healthy recipe or meal suggestion. It can also be used to help plan meals when shopping. It also offers a range of hints and tips on how to reduce food waste and a portion size planner to help consumers avoid wastage.
The app is seen as a revolutionary new step in an ongoing drive to combat food waste, a quest that Scotland is leading the way in trying to achieve. The average Scottish household throws away £430 per year of perfectly good food. This can be alleviated by using the app to plan meals and shopping trips.’
And do you know what? After trying it out, I agree! Why not give it a shot at your Big Lunch? You can also access the app online and It will give you quantities for up to 8 people which should cover most dishes you make as part of a shared meal. Happy cooking!
If you haven’t done already, now is the time to sign up for one of our FREE packs. We’re delighted to have had such a high demand for packs this year – thank you for being patient while we work hard to more ready to send out.
Although Sunday 3rd June is the nominated day for Big Lunches to take place this year, don’t forget you can hold one in your area whenever you like, however you like!
If you’re planning a Big Jubilee Lunch to celebrate Her Majesty’s sixty-year reign, we want to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fill us in on your plans to celebrate your community and get to know your neighbours at email@example.com
Also today, our friends at Fields in Trust are launching their Have a Field Day web pages, to help you plan a great summer celebration on one of the UK’s protected QEII Fields. As Fields in Trust’s flagship programme, headed by its Patron The Duke of Cambridge, the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge aims to protect 2,012 outdoor recreational spaces in communities all across the country as a permanent living legacy of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
To honour our partnership with Fields in Trust, we are really hoping to see some Big Lunches being held on QEII Fields this summer, combining The Big Lunch with the Have a Field Day initiative. So why not find a QEII space near you and hold a Big Lunch on it as a great excuse to enjoy some fun, food and fresh air with your neighbours on a protected green space.
The support of councils across the UK is really important to us. That’s why we’ve created a new Star Councils page on the website to showcase some of the fantastic work that’s being done.
We encourage councils to promote The Big Lunch to residents in their area and to make it as simple as possible to close roads for Big Lunch events.
We’re delighted that following our hard work with the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) and other community organisations, such as Streets Alive, the majority of councils have changed their policies and made it much easier for people to hold street parties. Great news for Big Lunchers! Councils are now encouraged to use the guidance and simple road closure form issued by CLG that can be downloaded from our website and is handy for street party organisers too.
Some councils are running their own Big Lunch events and some are providing support or funding to help residents get their events organised.
Has your council been particularly supportive and helpful? Or do you work for a local authority and think you should be on our Star Councils page?
Get in touch with Camilla.firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
It was a pretty sunny Saturday in Stirling, despite the odd flurry of snow outside the window. We were a select bunch, but gathered together in the true Big Lunch spirit, to share, to enjoy one another’s company, and to be inspired. We had goodies from The Big Lunch to give away, as well as information from our partners, Love Food Hate Waste and Living Streets.
I began by sharing the history of The Big Lunch from my experience: from an idea that came from the belief in building community and community connections at The Eden Project originally, to its spread through Big Lunchers far and wide. We watched the Scotland video with footage from last year, and I spoke a bit about what our hopes were for this one.
Then came the really exciting bit. Big Lunchers, both completely new and veterans, began to share their ideas about The Big Lunch. They spoke about things they had done and things they wanted to do. We got up and did some physical mapping, looking at whether people had had Big Lunches previously and how strong they felt their community spirit was by where they placed themselves on an imaginary line on the floor.
As the afternoon progressed it became clear that this was a group of people who wanted to get their teeth into community and had thought that the Big Lunch was a good place to begin. I was pleased to hear that people wanted to open up the scope of their Lunches to include more people. There were plans to extend the reach of a lunch so that it became the focal point for a series of events, whether these were bulb planting, getting together to cook and share recipes, or working on a bunting challenge locally. People talked about taking the ideas they had used in their original lunches, and embedding them into the calendar of community events.
It was an exciting event for me to have organised, and I hope, inspiring for the Big Lunchers who attended. I’ll share some of the things that came from our final exercise – ‘What the Big Lunch means in three words’ and you can decide for yourself.
‘Community, celebrate, food – Good Neighbour Networking! – Giving, participating,educating – A legacy for the future.’
More than 50 of the UK’s largest community groups, membership organisations and charities have pledged their support for The Big Jubilee Lunch taking place on Sunday 3rd June. This is part of the celebrations for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, as announced by Buckingham Palace.
Organisations, groups and charities – including the Scout Association, Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, Neighbourhood Watch, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, Age UK and Age Cymru – are encouraging their collective 15 million members across the UK to host Big Jubilee Lunch street celebrations.
As part of the official programme of activities for the central weekend announced by Buckingham Palace, The Big Jubilee Lunch is encouraging individuals and groups to come together to share lunch with neighbours, friends and family. This could be a street party, or a gathering in a back garden, park or community hall.
Peter Stewart, Campaigns Director of the Eden Project, said today: “The support from the UK’s membership organisations, community groups and charities has been amazing. They have issued a rallying call to their members to get involved and get together in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee.
“With less than four months to go to the big day we are confident this will be the biggest Big Lunch ever with many millions more people holding street celebrations with their neighbours to celebrate The Queen’s big day, to have fun and build stronger neighbourhoods. It will soon be time to break out the bunting again!”
Age Cymru chief executive Robert Taylor OBE said: “We’re passionate about recognising the amazing contribution older people make to everyday life in their communities. The Big Lunch offers a great opportunity to involve older people in any plans to celebrate.”
“We’re asking anyone organising a Big Lunch in Walesto make sure they invite older neighbours, friends and relatives. After all if you’re celebrating the Jubilee what better way to find out what life was like 60 years ago – just ask someone who was there!”
Scout Association chief executive Derek Twine CBE commented: “The Scouts are excited about taking part in The Big Jubilee Lunch. It’s a great way for the fun of Scouting to be shared with a wider audience, and for our young people and the volunteers who work with them to play a really active part in their local communities throughout the UK.”
We’re delighted by the support we’ve got from organisations to date. Take a look at some of the other Supporting Organisations we’re working with.
If you’re from an organisation and would like to find out how you can work with us, please contact Kate.email@example.com or call 0207 255 6455.
We’re pleased to announce that we now have 100 Champions signed up across the UK, helping us spread the word about The Big Lunch far and wide.
With the backing of our Street Party Ambassador Barbara Windsor and continued support of The Mayor Boris Johnson, London is steaming ahead with over 50 confirmed Champions, but all corners of the UK are represented.
To be a Champion all you have to do is promote The Big Lunch to your friends, family, colleagues and anyone that will listen!
You don’t have to have organised a Big Lunch yourself to be a Champion, but if you have, it will be your job to share your knowledge and experience with those interested in your area.
We understand that some people will be able to do more than others – and that’s fine! Being a Champion should be an enjoyable and rewarding role, giving you the chance to connect with other community-minded people, as well as spreading The Big Lunch message. There may even be a few incentives along the way to make it worth your while.
To find out more about becoming a Big Lunch Champion contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 255 6468.
If you feel that the Champions role isn’t quite right for you, but would like to share your experience with us, how about becoming a Big Lunch Spokesperson? Contact Fay Richards for more information: email@example.com or 0207 255 6482.
Fancy doing something different this year on Valentines weekend?
This coming Valentines weekend FareShare are collaborating with Forgotten Feast and their eco-chef Tom Hunt to produce a unique 3 course banqueting experience – Valentines for Everyone.
For £40 you’ll get a magnificent 3 course menu made from delicious but unwanted foods.
Every ticket sold will enable FareShare to provide an additional 80 meals for the hungry and vulnerable people we support, thanks to grant-giving charity StreetSmart who are generously matching the number of meals raised though ticket sales.
Tickets are £40 plus booking fee and are available for the following sittings: dinner tonight, dinner on Saturday 11th late lunch on Sunday 12th and for dinner on Valentine’s Day itself and include 3 courses, a drink and canapés.
Tickets are on sale here: http://valentinesforeveryone.eventbrite.co.uk
With the first batch of Big Lunch Packs sent out to Big Lunchers across the UK, many of you will have already spotted our fab new bunting template. The perforated sheets make homemade bunting even easier to create, and also contain some handy tips and ideas to inspire you.
With 117 days to go until your Big Lunch, get a head start with your Big Lunch decorations by learning how to make homemade bunting following our 3 simple steps to success!
Top Tip: When cutting your fabric use pinking shears instead of scissors. This helps to prevent the edges of your fabric fraying.
Evenly space the flags along a length of bias binding tape, string or even old shoe laces – fold the shortest edge over and pin in place.
Info: Bias tape or binding is a narrow strip of fabric handy for finishing off rough edges of fabric. You can find it in various colors and sizes in your nearest sewing shop or large supermarket.
Sew on the flags with a straight stitch, leaving at least 40cm of tape free from flags at each end for hanging.
REMEMBER: Bunting can be made from almost anything – recycle scraps of fabric, old clothes or even old tents! Check out the video on the ideas section of our website, for a step- by- step guide to transform your old plastic bags into funky bunting.
Not enough time to make your own?
If you are short of time to make your own bunting, have no fear! There are lots of great places to buy eco-friendly bunting and decorations. Green Gables has a fab website where you can all kinds of bunting, from recycled paper bunting to design and print your own. They even do a unique plantable bunting, which can be planted after use to produce the most beautiful Wildflowers!
The Big Bunting Competition
Making mountains of bunting? We’re running a competition for schools, community groups and Big Lunchers right across the UK to find the longest single line of bunting made for The Big Lunch! Simply email the length of your bunting, with your name and address to Camilla.firstname.lastname@example.org for the chance to win some fabulous prizes. The brighter, busier and more decorative the better – so send us your photos too!
On this day, 60 years ago, Princess Elizabeth received the news of her father, King George VI’s death and her own accession to the throne.
The young princess was staying in a remote part of Kenya at the time, and was immediately flown back to Britain to become Queen. Her coronation took place on 2nd June 1953 at Westminster Abbey, in front of the Prime Ministers and leading citizens of the Commonwealth countries. Queen Elizabeth II is only the second monarch in the UK to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee, to mark her 60 years on the throne.
We are delighted to hear that so many of you are already planning your Big Jubilee Lunches to join in the celebrations over the special long bank holiday weekend Saturday 2nd – 5th June.
Find out more about what’s happening over The Diamond Jubilee weekend here Also take a look at the official Diamond Jubilee Website just launched: www.thediamondjubilee.org. This includes HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Message, two specially commissioned Diamond Jubilee photographs of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh and 60 facts about The Queen’s reign. The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust has also been launched today
Had a Big Lunch before? Why not enter your story into the Jubilee Time Capsule – a social archive of stories from the last 60 years, set up by the Royal Commonwealth Society. The top stories will be presented to Her Majesty The Queen as a digital Diamond Jubilee gift. Find out more
Sign up for your Big Jubilee Lunch Pack